United States: H-1B
updates and reminders

United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) has issued the following updates and reminders about the H-1B process.

H-1B initial registration period now closed

The initial registration period for the fiscal year (FY) 2025 H-1B cap season closed at noon, Eastern Time, on 25 March 2024.

USCIS will soon randomly select enough unique beneficiaries of properly submitted registrations projected as needed to reach the FY 2025 H-1B numerical allocations (H-1B cap), including the advanced degree exemption (master’s cap), and will notify all prospective petitioners with selected beneficiaries that they are eligible to submit an H-1B cap-subject petition for such beneficiaries.

USCIS will issue another web alert when this process has been completed.

H-1B Form I-129 filing location change to lockbox

Effective 1 April 2024, H-1B and H-1B1 (HSC) Form I-129 petitions must no longer be submitted at the USCIS service centres. All paper-based H-1B and H-1B1 (HSC) Form I-129 petitions must be submitted at USCIS lockbox locations. This includes cap, non-cap, and cap-exempt H-1B filings.

USCIS will reject H-1B or H-1B1 (HSC) petitions received at a USCIS service centre on or after 1 April 2024. There will be no grace period provided.

USCIS has specific mailing addresses for cases that are subject to the H-1B cap. To determine the correct mailing address, please see the Form I-129 Direct Filing Addresses page.

If a petition is submitted at the wrong location, USCIS may reject the petition. Rejected petitions will not retain a submission date. If USCIS reject a petition because it was submitted at the wrong location, it may be refiled at the correct location, or online.

H-1B cap subject petitions may be resubmitted at the correct location, or online, as long as the petition is resubmitted during the designated 90-day submission window listed on the selection notice.

New fees and form edition

On 31 January 2024, USCIS published a final rule that adjusts the fees required for most immigration applications and petitions. The new fees are effective 1 April 2024.

Petitions postmarked on or after 1 April 2024, must include the new fees or will not be accepted. Additionally, there is a new 04/01/24 edition of Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. There will be no grace period for filing the new version of Form I-129 because it must include the new fee calculation.

  • USCIS will accept the 05/31/23 edition of this form if it is postmarked before1 April 2024;
  • USCIS will not accept the 05/31/23 edition of this form if it is postmarked onor after 1 April 2024; and
  • USCIS will only accept the 04/01/24 edition of this form if it is postmarkedon or after 1 April 2024.

USCIS will use the postmark date of a submission to determine which form version and fees are correct but will use the received date for purposes of any regulatory or statutory filing deadlines.

As a reminder, USCIS recently announced a final premium processing fee rule that increased the submission fee for Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, to adjust for inflation, effective 26 February 2024.

If USCIS receives a Form I-907 postmarked on or after 26 February 2024, with the incorrect submission fee, USCIS will reject the Form I-907 and return the filing fee. For submissions sent by commercial courier (such as UPS, FedEx, and DHL), the postmark date is the date on the courier receipt.

Online filing and organizational accounts

On 28 February 2024, USCIS launched new online organizational accounts that allow multiple people within an organization and their legal representatives to collaborate on and prepare H-1B registrations, H-1B petitions, and any associated Form I-907. Information on organizational accounts is available on the Organizational Accounts Frequently Asked Questions page.

USCIS also launched online submission of Form I-129 and associated Form I-907 for non-cap H-1B petitions on 25 March. On 1 April 2024 USCIS will begin accepting online filing for H-1B cap petitions and associated Forms I-907 for petitioners whose registrations have been selected.

Petitioners will continue to have the option of a paper Form I-129 H-1B petition and any associated Form I-907 if they prefer. However, during the initial launch of organizational accounts, users will not be able to link paper-filed Forms I-129 and I-907 to their online accounts.

No more pre-paid mailers

Prepaid mailers are no longer used to send out any communication or final notices for any H-1B or H-1B1 (HSC) petitions as of 25 March 2024. With H-1B intake now occurring at the lockbox or online, USCIS will not be able to use any prepaid mailers for H-1B or H-1B1 (HSC) submissions.

The process of printing and mailing H-1B petition approval notices by first-class mail is fully automated. MyUSCIS account holders will also receive an email or text message notification when there is a case status change on a case in their account, followed by a paper notice by mail.

Speak to our US immigration experts

If you need advice or guidance relating to US immigration including H-1B applications, the Global Immigration team at Smith Stone Walters is here to help.

To speak to a member of the team, please contact us today.

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